The Happy Man
When I was a year old, I had a serious infection that scarred my right lung for life. We lived in Missouri at the time, in the Nauvoo Stake. It was a nice place to live, but it was too damp for my lungs. My mother said that I coughed all day and all night. So we moved to Arizona, and I don’t cough all day and all night anymore.
In spite of Arizona’s dry climate, sometimes I have ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, because of my scarred lung. I am grateful for hospitals, which have saved my life, but they are not my favorite places to visit. I don’t like the IVs, and the food doesn’t taste like my mom’s cooking. I really miss my family when I am there. Some nights can get really lonely. But I do like watching kids’ movies there that I haven’t seen before. It’s even fun to be pushed around in a wheelchair. However it’s still really sad to not be in my own home.
One night, I heard a tinkling of music in the hallway. It sounded like an ice-cream truck. Soon a happy-looking man wearing a rainbow helicopter hat was standing at my door. He was pushing a cart full of tiny stuffed animals. On top of the cart was a music box. He smiled at me and asked how I felt. He even made me laugh. He told me I could have any of the stuffed animals I wanted! I chose a bright, yellow bear. I was so happy! I even forgot that I was feeling sad.
My mom asked a nurse about him. The nurse said that he once had a daughter in the hospital. He visited her often. When he passed by all the sick children there, he wished he could bring cheer to all of them. Then he thought of the music cart with the stuffed animals. And with a smile and a rainbow helicopter hat, he became known as the Happy Man.
He made me forget my sadness. He truly was following Jesus’ example, helping those of us who were sick and lonely. I know that he will be blessed forever and that all the happiness that he has given away will come back to him tenfold.
When my big sister and I left our favorite restaurant, we were each given a balloon. My mom suggested that we tie the balloons to our wrists, but we wanted to be big and just hold them with our hands. Then my sister accidentally let go of her balloon. Her mouth turned down, and big tears rolled down her cheeks. I walked over to her and said, “Madi, you can have my balloon.” She gave me a gigantic grin, and her tears quickly dried up. Even though I no longer had a balloon, I felt happy and warm inside. Everyone was smiling. I think Jesus was, too!
Natalie likes to explore the fields around our house. She found a special tree not far from our backyard, where she likes to pray. One night as I tucked her into bed, she said that Heavenly Father had told her to fast on the next Fast Sunday. She is so thin and young that I discouraged her. It was three weeks until the next Fast Sunday, so I thought that she would forget. But she didn’t!
On the day before the fast, she knew exactly her purpose for fasting. She wanted Heavenly Father to bless an elderly sister in our branch who had been very sick. Natalie said that she was never hungry during her fast, because she knew that that was what Heavenly Father wanted her to do.
For several months, she fasted every month with a special purpose, was cheerful, and never complained once. She has been a wonderful example for our family.
Caylen made a special fast, too. His grandmother had written a letter to us, telling how she had prayed following a Relief Society lesson and asked Heavenly Father to help her find a new way to serve. She soon met a woman who had struggled seriously with infections made worse by foods with yeast in them, like most bread. Grandma Craven makes delicious bread with hardly any yeast. She knew that this was the way Heavenly Father had answered her prayer, and she now makes bread for this sister regularly.
I had shared this with my children, showing them how Grandma Craven had received an answer to her prayer. Prior to the next Fast Sunday, Caylen said, “I want to fast for the lady Grandma bakes bread for.” So without even knowing her personally, he fasted for this sister.